No abuse of Finance Minister post, PM assures Dewan

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has assured Parliament that he will not abuse his post as Finance Minister.

“Whether or not the posts are merged is not the problem but using the position to steal property belonging to the rakyat is. It applies to both sides of the political divide and those who are clean have nothing to worry about,” said Anwar.

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He then added that those involved in corruption should feel “pressure and fear”.

“I have resolved that under this unity government, I will use every effort to curb corruption,” he said in Parliament on Tuesday (Feb 14) in reply to a supplementary question by Datuk Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin (PN-Putrajaya).

Anwar’s decision in December to be Finance Minister came under criticism as Pakatan Harapan had pledged in its 2018 general election manifesto that the prime minister would not hold the finance portfolio in its administration.

The last prime minister to hold the finance portfolio was Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

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Anwar acknowledged that while the nation had chalked up huge debts during Barisan Nasional’s administration, the same also happened under the former Perikatan Nasional government.

“There is truth to the statement that during Barisan’s rule, there were leakages of public funds in cases involving 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Bhd).

“However, there was also a lot of damage during Perikatan’s time,” he said.

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Earlier, in reply to Wong Kah Woh (PH-Taiping), Anwar informed the House that the nation’s debts stood at RM1.5 trillion or 82% of the national gross domestic product (GDP).

He also said the government has no plans to reintroduce the goods and services tax (GST) or other broad consumption taxes when asked if there would be any increases in such levies.

Instead, Anwar said the government will continue to reduce the nation’s liabilities through lowering of subsidies.

He cited the recent example where electricity tarrifs were reduced for the T20 category, multinational firms and big corporations, unless they are involved in food security.